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gordo 2015 ticketsAs we are now in December, the countdown to Christmas is on. But most people in Spain look forward not to 24th or 25th – but to 22nd, which is the day that the El Gordo National Lottery is drawn! The El Gordo lottery pays out more prizes than any other lottery draw in the world and almost everyone in Spain plays - the average spend is 70 euros per person.

lottery queue It is not like the Euro Lottery where you have the option to pick your own numbers, the El Gordo have pre-printed tickets with a 5 digit number and nativity scene, which changes every year. The lottery draw is managed by the Government under "Loterias y Apuestas del Estado", the Spanish lottery organization. 30% of the ticket sales go to the Government in taxes and the remaining 70% is paid out in prizes. Since 1st January 2013 any lottery winnings over 2,500 euros have been taxed at 20% - prior to that any amount was tax-free.

tickets on displayThe El Gordo has become a self-perpetuating success - the more tickets sold the bigger the prize fund... no-one can resist the lure of a share of the jackpot!
However, the numbering system is quite complex - a ticket has one 5 digit number and comes on a sheet of ten.

lottery shop on calle gamboAn individual ticket costs 20 euros and therefore is you want to buy the entire sheet it will set you back 200 euros - this is where syndicates come in. Friends, neighbours even entire villages club together to buy them. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying an entire sheet.

If the number comes up you get all the winnings, but likewise, if it doesn´t you have "wasted" ten tickets. Then on top of a sheet of ten, there are "series" or sets - it varies from year to year but there can be up to 180 for each ticket number. It is therefore easy to see why there are so many winners for the El Gordo lottery - statistics show that 1 in 3 tickets win something!

lottery signThe sets of tickets can be seen hanging at lottery outlets all over Spain and certain "lucky" numbers sell out quickly, such as wedding dates or the year that Spain won the world cup etc. But don´t leave it too late to buy your lottery tickets as they can sell out..... Buena Suerte! - thats Good Luck.


0 #1 David Wilby 2015-12-02 09:07
Can non-residents buy El Gordo tickets? We are living in Benidorm but don't yet have our Recidencia!

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